It has been said that (depending on where you are) pressing the crosswalk button to make it turn green is nothing but a placebo, designed to give users the feeling that they are in control. Could the same be said for privacy settings? In a report from AP, it’s starting to feel that way with Google.


It is no secret that Google tracks your location when it comes to using certain services, such as Google, and to be fair the company has been very upfront when they do need your permission to access your location. However the report claims that even when you disable tracking via Location History, your movements are still being tracked (albeit not as accurately).

Together with computer-science researchers at Princeton, AP confirmed that this was true, such as in instances when you open the Maps app where it will take a snapshot of where you are; daily weather updates on Android will track your rough location; searches using Google will also attempt to pinpoint your location.

In response to AP’s report, a Google spokesperson said, “There are a number of different ways that Google may use location to improve people’s experience, including: Location History, Web and App Activity, and through device-level Location Services. We provide clear descriptions of these tools, and robust controls so people can turn them on or off, and delete their histories at any time.”

The spokesperson is right, in which Google does give users the option to disable tracking completely, although given that it is labelled “Web and App activity”, it’s not a particularly obvious setting.

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